Heartbeat actor Peter Benson, who played Bernie Scripps in the popular ITV series for 18 years, has died, his manager said.
Benson died aged 75 on Thursday after a short illness.
In the police drama set in the 1960s, he played a funeral director who got into disastrous money-making schemes. He appeared in all 18 series from 1992.
Benson also played Henry VII in BBC comedy Blackadder, and appeared more recently in hospital drama, Casualty.
As well as his TV work, he was also a skilled singer, dancer and theatre actor who portrayed the title role in Shakespeare’s Henry VI in a BBC television adaption of the play in 1983.
Former Heartbeat co-star Steven Blakeley, who played PC Geoff Younger in the show, was among those to pay tribute.
There would “never be another like you – talented, kind and gentle in equal measure”, said Blakeley.
Lisa Kay, who played the character of Emma Bryden, wrote on Twitter: “He was always a total gentleman and great fun to work with. He was dearly loved and shall be missed terribly by his Heartbeat family.”
And Fiona Dolman, who played PC Mike Bradley’s solicitor wife, Jackie, paid tribute to a “kind, funny, brilliant, gentle and deliciously sarcastic” man.
Heartbeat, which ran until 2010, was one of ITV’s top-rated dramas in its heyday, drawing about 14 million viewers in the first series.
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